Advent Christian Church

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Advent Christian Church (Advent Christian General Conference)
Advent Christian Logo.jpg
Abbreviation ACGC[1]
Classification Protestant
Governance Congregational
Director Rev. Ronald Thomas[2]
Associations National Association of Evangelicals,[3] Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability,[4]
Founder Jonathan Cummings
Origin 1860
Salem, Massachusetts
Branched from Millerites
Official website http://www.acgc.us/

The Advent Christian Church, also known as the Advent Christian General Conference, is a "first-day" body of Adventist Christians founded on the teachings of William Miller in 1860. The organization's Executive Director is Rev. Ronald Thomas and its President is Rev. Steve Lawson.[5]

Headquartered in Charlotte, the functions of its national offices include global missions, nurture & leadership development, student & kids' ministries, women's ministries, and communications efforts.[6] These ministries happen under the leadership of the organization's Executive Director, Rev, Ronald Thomas,[7] who is accountable to the organization's executive council; a governing board made up of elected representatives from Advent Christian Churches.[8] This board is chaired by the organization's president, Rev. Steve Lawson.[9]

In addition to the work of the national offices, more localized work is done in five regions of the U.S. and Canada under the direction of five regional superintendents,[10] as well as in several state conference bodies.

The organization holds to a congregational structure, in which each of its member churches, and their members, have input into the overall direction of the organization.[11]

History[edit]

William Miller[edit]

Though the first Advent Christian Association was founded in Salem, Massachusetts in 1860, the church's formation is rooted in the Adventist teachings begun by Baptist preacher William Miller of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. For many years, Miller studied the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament book of Daniel and the New Testament book of Revelation. After many calculations, he announced in 1831 that the Second Advent would occur in 1844. Thousands of people believed him, and sold their possessions. His followers, called Millerites, waited for the coming of Christ and the end of the world, and therefore were greatly disappointed when his predictions proved incorrect.

The Albany Conference[edit]

The Albany Conference, which began in 1845, was one of the major groups to form in the aftermath of Miller's failed predictions. It included many major Millerite leaders such as Miller himself. The Advent Christian Church has its roots in this group.


Jonathan Cummings[edit]

Jonathan Cummings (1817–1894),[12] a disciple of Miller who reset Miller's prediction of Christ's coming as 1854, was also influential on the individuals who founded the Advent Christian Association. A third root of the Advent Christians is found in the rise of the doctrine of conditional immortality among Adventist preachers such as Charles F. Hudson (1795–1881) and George Storrs (1796–1879). Rejecting what they believed as a Greek philosophy (immortality of the soul), they taught that though man was created for immortality, that immortality had been forfeited in the fall of Adam. They believed that only the redeemed would receive eternal life; the dead unconsciously would await the resurrection and final judgment. At the time of judgment, the wicked would suffer extinction. These teachings separated them from some within the Millerite movement.

Beliefs[edit]

The Advent Christian Declaration of Principles[13]

1. We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, being in its entirety a revelation given to man under divine inspiration and providence; that its historic statements are correct, and that it is the only divine and infallible standard of faith and practice.

2. We believe, as revealed in the Bible:

a. In one God, our Father, eternal, and infinite in his wisdom, love and power, the Creator of all things, "in whom we live, and move, and have our being."

b. And in Jesus Christ, our Lord, the only begotten Son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; who came into our world to seek and to save that which was lost; who died for our sins; who was raised bodily from the dead for our justification; who ascended in heaven as our High Priest and Mediator, and who will come again in the end of this age, to judge the living and the dead, and to reign forever and ever.

c. And in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, sent from God to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, whereby we are sanctified and sealed unto the day of redemption.

3. We believe that man was created for immortality, but that through sin he forfeited his divine birthright; that because of sin, death entered into the world, and passed upon all men; and that only through faith in Jesus Christ, the divinely ordained Life-giver, can men become "partakers of the divine nature," and live forever.

4. We believe that death is a condition of unconsciousness to all persons, righteous and wicked; a condition which will remain unchanged until the resurrection at Christ's Second Coming, at which time the righteous will receive everlasting life while the wicked will be "punished with everlasting destruction;" suffering complete extinction of being.

5. We believe that salvation is free to all those who, in this life and in this age, accept it on the conditions imposed, which conditions are simple and inflexible, namely, turning from sin, repentance toward God, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and a life of consecration to the service of God; thus excluding all hope of a future probation, or of universal salvation.

6 We believe that Jesus Christ, according to his promise, will come again to this earth, even "in like manner" as he went into heaven - personally, visibly and gloriously - to reign here forever; and that this coming is the hope of the church, inasmuch as upon that coming depend the resurrection and reward of the righteous, the abolition of sin and its consequences, and the renewal of the earth - now marred by sin - to become the eternal home of the redeemed, after which event the earth will be forever free from sin and death.

7. We believe that Bible prophecy has indicated the approximate time of Christ's return; and comparing its testimony with the signs of our times, we are confident the he is near, "even at the doors," and we believe that the great duty of the hour is the proclamation of this soon-coming redemption, the defense of Bible authority, inspiration and truth, and the salvation of lost men.

8. We believe the church of Christ is an institution of divine origin, which includes all true Christians, of whatever name; but that local church organizations should be independent of outside control, congregational in government, and subject to no dictation of priest, bishop or pope - although true fellowship and unity of action should exist between all such organizations.

9. We believe that the only ordinances of the church of Christ are Baptism and the Lord's Supper; immersion being the only true baptism.

10. We believe that the first day of the week, as the day set apart by the early church in commemoration of Christ's resurrection, should be observed as the Christian Sabbath, and used as a day of rest and religious worship.

11. We believe that war is contrary to the spirit and teachings of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ; that it is contrary to the spirit of true brotherhood; and that our influence should be used against it. We believe the Bible also teaches that properly constituted government is ordained of God and is a divine instrument for man's welfare and protection. When an Advent Christian decides on the basis of Scripture and conscience, either to bear arms or to submit to penalties imposed for his refusal to do so, local Advent Christian congregations should extend continued fellowship and nurture.

In addition to their declaration of principles, the Advent Christian Church upholds the NAE Statement of Faith, which reads as follows...[14]

NAE Statement of Faith

1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.

2. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

4. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

5. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

6. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

7. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Additional information about the beliefs of the Advent Christian Church can be found in the About Us section of their website.[15]

Statistics[edit]

In 2006, the Advent Christian Church had about 25,600 members in 293 churches across the U.S., not very different from the 28,300 it had in 1925, with relatively stable membership during the intervening years.[16] The largest concentration of churches is along the eastern coast of the United States where they have a strong concentration of churches in most states. Additionally, they claim approximately 100,000 members internationally, spread out over work in 35 countries. The church holds membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association, and the National Association of Evangelicals[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.acgc.us
  2. ^ http://acgc.us/Contact-Us/Contact-Us
  3. ^ http://www.nae.net/membership/current-members
  4. ^ http://www.ecfa.org/MemberProfile.aspx?ID=4179
  5. ^ http://www.acgc.us
  6. ^ http://www.acgc.us
  7. ^ http://acgc.us/Contact-Us/Contact-Us
  8. ^ http://acgc.us/Portals/1/PDF/ARTICLES%20of%20Association%20and%20Bylaws%20-%20Policy.pdf
  9. ^ http://acgc.us/Contact-Us/Executive-Council
  10. ^ http://acgc.us/Contact-Us/Regional-Superintendents
  11. ^ http://acgc.us/Portals/1/PDF/ARTICLES%20of%20Association%20and%20Bylaws%20-%20Policy.pdf
  12. ^ Mooar, George. The Cummings Memorial, B.F. Cummings, 1903, p. 263,4.
  13. ^ http://acgc.us/About-Us/Advent-Christian-Declaration-of-Principles
  14. ^ http://acgc.us/About-Us/NAE-Statement-of-Faith
  15. ^ http://acgc.us/About-Us/About-Us
  16. ^ [1] Data from the National Council of Churches' Historic Archive CD and Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches
  17. ^ http://www.acgc.us/

Bibliography[edit]

  • Churches and Church Membership in the United States (1990), Glenmary Research Center
  • Crocombe, Jeff (2003). "Advent Christian Church". In Hillerbrand, Hans Joachim. Encyclopedia of Protestantism 1. New York: Taylor and Francis. p. 10. 
  • Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton, editor
  • Handbook of Denominations in the United States, by Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood
  • Midnight and Morning: The Millerite Movement and the Founding of the Advent Christian Church, by Clyde E. Hewitt
  • Tarling, Lowell R. (1981). "The Advent Christian Church". The Edges of Seventh-day Adventism: A Study of Separatist Groups Emerging from the Seventh-day Adventist Church (1844–1980). Barragga Bay, Bermagui South, NSW: Galilee Publications. pp. 12–23. ISBN 0-9593457-0-1. 
  • Knight, George R. (1994). 1844 and the Rise of Sabbatarian Adventism. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing.  (Part VIII highlights the Albany Conference of 1845 which became a formative meeting in the development of the Advent Christian denomination (132).)

External links[edit]